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Indian smartphone industry in Year 2016: Takeaway points

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New Delhi, December 16: With nearly 250 million unique smartphone users in the country and the figure set to reach the 280 million mark by the end of this year, the Indian smartphone industry — that surpassed the US to become the world’s second-largest market by users in 2016 — is set to break new records.

In a year of several firsts — the first modular smartphone G5 from South Korean giant LG and TCL 560 that came equipped with a unique eye-verification feature from Chinese electronics brand TCL Corporation to the delight of Indian users — leading smartphone makers clearly zeroed in on flagship devices packed with features never heard of.

South Korean smartphone maker Samsung was the first to launch its flagship smartphone Galaxy S7 and its curved-screen companion Galaxy S7 Edge in March at irresistible prices of Rs 48,900 and Rs 56,900, respectively.

The smartphones came with innovations in design, imaging, software functionality and connectivity with a host of other services. The company also introduced the first dual-pixel camera on Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge devices.

In March, tech giant Apple stunned its rivals by launching a cheaper, smaller yet powerful iPhone SE. Regarded as the cheapest iPhone model so far, the phone came in two variants — 16GB and 64GB.

Taiwan-based HTC also unveiled its flagship HTC 10 in May that competes with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge and iPhone 6s/6s Plus. It offered great multi-tasking abilities.

While the world of technology was going ga-ga over the future of modular smartphones, LG translated the concept into reality with the G5 — its flagship device that upped the ante for other vendors in the customised smartphone market.

The Rs 52,990 G5 features a “slide-out” battery design and dual rear cameras — the only device to feature dual primary cameras which work independent of each other.

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus in June launched its flagship all-rounder OnePlus 3, with 6GB RAM and a unique dash-charge feature that gives 60 per cent of battery life in flat 30 minutes.

July marked the entry of game-changer TCL 560 smartphone by TCL Corporation and is the only device sub-8K that comes with iris-based “EyeVerify” unlock feature.

Ending round-the-clock rumours, the Cupertino-giant Apple in September unveiled its much-anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with next-generation ‘Apple Watch Series 2’.

iPhone 7 features breakthrough new camera systems, the best battery life ever in an iPhone and water and dust resistance. The device also has a dual-core processor with GPU that is up to two times faster.

Set to counter Apple’s iOS 10 and intelligent assistant Siri, Google came with Pixel in October –– the first phone made by Google with the Google Assistant built right in, bringing together the best of Google’s software and world-class hardware.

Other Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo also kept the momentum going by bringing high-end specifications in flagship devices. Domestic players such as Micromax and Karbonn also introduced their share of devices in the sub-10K category.

In 2016, users also witnessed many new devices with virtual reality (VR) capabilities, improved optics, powerful processors and longer battery back-up. Smartphones with heavy-duty front cameras (remember Vivo V5?) also arrived every now and then.

Another highlight of the year was “Make in India” announcements from smartphone makers like global internet technology conglomerate LeEco — a new entrant in India that created quite a ripple with its popular range of “Superphones” like Le 1s Eco, Le 2 and Le Max 2. Other such manufacturing announcements/commitments came from Micromax, Vivo India, Huawei and LG, among others.

Highlights of the Indian smartphone industry in 2016:

* India overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market by users

* The country touched nearly 250 million unique smartphone users and the figure was set to reach the 280 million-mark by the end of the year

* Several smartphone makers announced they would start manufacturing in India

* The smartphone market in India crossed the 30 million unit shipments milestone for the first time ever in a quarter in third quarter of 2016.

By Anuj Sharma (IANS)

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Adobe reports record $2 bn revenue in Q4

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New Delhi, Dec 15: Riding on the success of its Creative, Document and Experience Cloud portfolios, software giant Adobe on Wednesday said that it has achieved a record $2.01 billion revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 that ended on December 1.

The company also registered an annual revenue of $7.30 billion — representing a 25 per cent year-over-year growth.

“Adobe delivered a record revenue of $2 billion in Q4. Our strong business momentum is driven by the market-leading solutions we provide to empower people to create and businesses to digitally transform,” Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe, said in a statement.

The company said that its ‘Digital Media’ segment revenue was $1.39 billion, with Creative and Document Cloud achieving record quarterly revenue of $1.16 billion and $235 million, respectively.

Digital Media Annualised Recurring Revenue (ARR) grew to $5.23 billion exiting the quarter, a quarter-over-quarter increase of $359 million.

Adobe Experience Cloud achieved a record revenue of $550 million, which represents a 18 per cent year-over-year growth.

“Adobe achieved record annual and quarterly revenue and the leverage in our business model once again drove record profit and earnings,” said Mark Garrett, Executive Vice-President and CFO of Adobe, adding that “We are raising our fiscal 2018 revenue target and remain bullish about delivering strong top line and bottom line growth.”

The software giant’s operating income grew 37 per cent and net income grew 26 per cent year-over-year on a GAAP-basis, operating income grew 37 per cent and net income grew 39 per cent year-over-year on a non-GAAP basis.

“Cash flow from operations was a record $833 million and deferred revenue grew to an all-time high of $2.49 billion. The company repurchased approximately 1.9 million shares during the quarter, returning $297 million of cash to stockholders,” Adobe said.

As far as revenue details of the fiscal year are concerned, Adobe reported $5.01 billion in Digital Media segment revenue, with Creative and Document Cloud achieving a record annual revenue of $4.17 billion and $837 million, respectively.

IANS

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OnePlus 5T ‘Star Wars’ edition phone in India for Rs 38,999

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Mumbai, Dec 15 : Celebrating its third anniversary in India, Chinese smartphone player OnePlus has now introduced OnePlus 5T “Star Wars” special edition smartphone in collaboration with science-fiction film “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for Rs 38,999.

The limited edition phone’s design has been inspired by planet “Crait” from the movie. The metal back of the device is “Crait” white with a “Star Wars” logo in red.

“We dedicate the ‘Star Wars’ limited edition to OnePlus and Star Wars fans in India as a part of our three-year anniversary celebration. We’ve worked hard to refine every detail,” Kyle Kiang, Head, Global Marketing, OnePlus, said in a statement late on Thursday.

Similar to OnePlus 5T, the special edition device also features a 16MP + 20MP primary camera with f/1.7 aperture on both sensors.

There is a six-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 for immersive viewing.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset fuels the phone, coupled with 8GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage.

On the software front, there is a customised red, white and black theme with a set of 10 exclusive “Star Wars” wallpapers.

Apart from India, the limited edition variant will also be available in select European countries including Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

IANS

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Facebook to push more videos via pre-roll ads for ‘Watch’

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San Francisco, Dec 15 : In a move that will push more videos to users, Facebook has announced it will introduce pre-roll advertisements on its video-on-demand service “Watch”.

“Today, the majority of video discovery and watch time happens in News Feed. It provides a great opportunity for publishers and creators to reach their audience, drive discovery, and start to build deeper connections for their content,” Maria Angelidou-Smith, Product Management Director and Abhishek Bapna, Product Manager, Facebook, wrote in a blog post late on Thursday.

The social media giant is also updating News Feed ranking to improve distribution of videos from publishers and creators that users actively want to watch.

“With this update, we will show more videos in News Feed that people seek out or return to watch from the same publisher or creator week after week — for example, shows or videos that are part of a series, or from partners who are creating active communities,” Facebook added.

Facebook said it will start formally testing the format next year, according to Ad Age.

However, this does not mean the entire News Feed is going to be full of video ads for users.

The social media major has long resisted the format because of its reputation for annoying viewers who are trying to view their desired content.

For years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg even banned “pre-roll” from Facebook’s advertising platform.

“We don’t need to do pre-roll because our model is not one where you come to Facebook to watch one piece of content, you come to look at a feed,” Zuckerberg had earlier said in July.

IANS

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